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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Choosing IceWM as Your Window Manager

If you really like the more typical IceWM interface, other than the Easy Mode implementation, you can make that interface your default.

The whole idea, which is detailed at http://www.ProductiveLinux.com, is to provide the functionality of the various desktop tools using a lightweight, multipurpose file and system management tool called ROX-Filer. ROX-Filer has menu-like windows to launch applications, functions for setting the computer wallpaper, and even its own taskbar-like structure. Supposedly the combination of IceWM and ROX-Filer is as functional as the KDE but faster.

To actually set up the ROX/IceMW environment, you need to:

  1. Install the ROX-Filer package.
  2. Modify the configuration file that invokes AsusLauncher for Easy Mode.

Fortunately, you can load ROX-Filer directly from Synaptic using the repositories that Chapter 8 sets up. If you want to pursue using ROX, jump ahead to Chapter 8 and set up the repositories and learn a little about Synaptic. After you do so, you can proceed here.

Installing the ROX-Filer Package

Launch the Synaptic Package Manager from a terminal window with the sudo synaptic command. If you haven't reloaded the repositories in a while, click the Reload button in Synaptic.

Click one of the packages in the list, and start typing "rox." (If you use the Search function, look in Chapter 8 for instructions about clearing the error that Search causes in Synaptic.) You're looking for a package called rox-filer, as shown in Figure 4.6. Once you've found it, mark it for installation by checking its check box and then install it.

Figure 4.6

Figure 4.6 Loading ROX-Filer via Synaptic.

Modifying the AsusLauncher Configuration for ROX-Filer

After Easy Mode is loaded, press Ctrl+Alt+T to launch an xterm window. What you're going to do is make a copy of the /usr/bin/startsimple.sh shell script. This is the script that starts the desktop. If you want to return to a configuration with Easy Mode and Full Desktop, you'll want a pristine copy of this script. To copy the script, issue the following command at the prompt:

> sudo cp /usr/bin/startsimple.sh /usr/bin/startsimple.sh_OLD

Next, load the startsimple.sh shell (see Figure 4.7) into your favorite editor, invoking the editor with sudo so that you have permission to write a modified version of the file. I'll use xemacs and launch it this way:

> sudo xemacs /usr/bin/startsimple.sh &
Figure 4.7

Figure 4.7 Editing startsimple.sh.

Use the Search function in your editor to find the line with /opt/xandros/bin/AsusLauncher &. Put a comment character (#) as the first character in the line. This line now won't be executed. You've now disabled AsusLauncher, so Easy Mode and Full Desktop are no longer available. You'll need to replace that line with ROX. Look for a line that contains wapmonitor &. Insert a blank line below that and enter the following into the blank line:

Rox -S &

A little explanation is required. The -S switch invokes ROX in the ROX-Session mode, which launches the ROX Desktop. The & character spawns ROX as a new process and makes it independent of the script. You can now save the file, exit your editor, and reset the X Window System environment by pressing Ctrl+Alt+Backspace. The Eee PC will now load the IceWM and ROX-Session, and you'll be in a brave new world.

ROX takes a little getting used to, but its convention of treating everything in a drag-and-drop way is quite convenient. Actually, ROX has lots of conveniences. For example, you can load any of the Eee PC wallpapers quite easily from ROX via the Background function. This is pretty cool, as all you really need to do is drag the background graphic file icon from a ROX file manager window onto the Set Background dialog box (see Figure 4.8).

Figure 4.8

Figure 4.8 Preparing to drag-and-drop the wallpaper file.

You can get Eee PC wallpapers from lots of sources. Just run a Google search for "Eee PC" and "wallpaper." Download the wallpaper file anywhere you like, and then use the Set Background dialog box to load the wallpaper. Once loaded, you can stretch it, center it, and so forth right from the Set Background dialog box.

Figure 4.9 shows the ROX Desktop with the IceWM taskbar running the Infadel2 theme. This shows the Applications window, which is really just the file manager showing the /usr/share directory.

Figure 4.9

Figure 4.9 IceWM and ROX.

Although the combination of IceWM and ROX is nice, I frankly prefer the KDE desktop. If you tire of the IceWM/ROX environment, simply reinvoke the original AsusLauncher by deleting the usr/bin/startsimple.sh file and copying /usr/bin/startsimple.sh_OLD to /usr/bin/startsimple.sh. Remember to use sudo with the cp command if you do this.

If you want to find out more information about IceWM, check out http://www.icewm.org. There's documentation and themes that you can use. As for ROX, you'll find everything you need at http://roscidus.com/desktop/.

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